Kitties have little teddy bears on the bottom of their feets.
Kitties have little teddy bears on the bottom of their feets.
Not about cats, who already understand
things that could be and aren’t….yet
are not worthy,
even though prudence (another human thing)
demands planning, storing up –
I refuse, because
sufficient unto this day are its concerns
and tomorrow, Scarlett,
is another day I have not yet been given.
I will love you today
and rest as I need.
I am not the leader of the free world or the enslaved one
and that was never my goal, anyhow.
Today I will love you.
The potential horrors of potential tomorrow
will just have to wait.
Today, I am too busy loving
to worry about what might happen tomorrow.
And anyhow, when tomorrow IS today,
there will still be love to give.
I am a sucker for a mewling kitten. I know this from bitter experience. By the time I got a job in Panama, and we were packing up to move from Morocco, I needed to find homes for ELEVEN cats. I managed all but three by the time it was time to go, so at least I only had to book flights for three pets to Panama, and let’s not discuss how much that cost.
The trouble is, once I got to Panama, it took less than a year (only ONE kitten season), to acquire two more. The fact that two of my beloved fur children went to heaven during that time, so that the total number of fur babies remained constant at three, is neither here nor there. The question remains, should I adopt, knowing I will not be able to resist anyway, and also knowing that I will not be staying in this country for another 15 years or so, which is usually how long a cat lives, on average?
It is enough that they get several good years with me and then get another home, as good as I can provide for them? That is certainly better than life on the street would have treated them, because I take them to the vet, and neuter them, and care for them. Still, I know that changing families can be stressful for both people and pets, so am I being fair or unfair to them, loving them for a time, and sharing them with some other good family when I have to go?
Well – Panama is not going to be the retirement country. I will start filling out applications soon, in the fall, for a new school in another country. Perhaps Nicaragua, perhaps Ecuador, perhaps Bolivia or Brazil – who knows?
And why, some of you may be thinking, are you dissatisfied with Panama, the world’s top-touted haven for retiring Americans? I have discovered that wherever the world is beating a path, is very probably NOT the place that I am wanting to go. That has proven to be the case with Panama. I think the nicest thing I can say about Panamanians is that they have a very relaxed attitude towards customer service – which I would not have believed of a people who had such a close association with Americans for the last 150 years. The Panama idea of customer service is akin to that old joke about the bull servicing the cows – THAT kind of customer service. After a while, you just sort of expect to get screwed – NOT my idea of a good time. An author I am currently reading said that Panamanians have an “immature” work ethic. Fairly accurate, and kindly put.
Plus, all that crap you read about Panama being so cheap – WHERE do these people making these claims come from – freaking California, or New York City? Only those idiots could believe Panama is cheap, and you already know they are stupid for continuing to live in such expensive places to begin with (not to mention the hurricanes and the earthquakes, for crying out loud). Taking their word for inexpensive living is ridiculous to begin with, seeing that they have no basis in reality from the word go.
The only catch, and the ONE thing that might keep me here in Panama for another year, is the actual process of moving again. Moving is not a whole lot of fun and games in any location, and moving country is that whole ugly process, times ten to the nth power. Meh.
Still, that is what being an international worker is all about – seeing and “trying on for size” new places and new cultures. Besides, my Spanish is actually getting a little better. I am sure I sound funny, but I am generally understood – the whole point of communication in the first place. I am far better at Spanish than I EVER was at French (ugh) or Arabic (ditto).
I just need to find homes for two sweet cats – another whole issue.
I have shared my life with cats for as long as I can remember.
Except for the years I was married. I gave away my cats because he did not like them. I should have known from that alone. Worst trade of my life (and that is saying something).
The last few years we were married, before he died, I got a cat anyway, because by then I just did not care anymore what he thought. And I have had them ever since.
My children do not have the same memories of their dad that I have, because they were children and I was wife. They don’t remember being cat-less. By the time they were old enough to remember, I did not care anymore, so I was no longer cat-less.
But I remember.
NEVER AGAIN – for ANYbody.
In the little fenced compound where my little house, my casita, is located in Panama, we have three dogs that are inside (for security? I guess?) and several of the people who live here have dogs of their own, most of whom are kept inside, or leashed, or fenced. However, there is one the owners let run loose with the three who belong to the property owner, who roam the property at will.
This is an issue because I have cats. One other neighbor also has cats, and their cat has learned not to run, but to confront the bully dogs – who have learned to leave her alone. My cats have not yet learned this essential skill. They still run.
I let them outside, which they adore, only when I am there to help watch over them.
Last night, Caruso was lying on the sidewalk in front of my house, enjoying the warmth of the concrete, while basking in the cool breeze. The neighbor’s dog was sitting alertly on his house’s front porch, intently staring at my cat who was minding his own business at my house. I was watching this scenario unfold from my hammock on the front porch.
This dog KNEW he was not supposed to chase that cat. He stood it for as long as he was able, and then, being a dog, he charged. Caruso fled for the house, but turned as he neared the porch to confront the dog, who was in full pursuit. I myself was climbing out of the hammock to intervene, when danger turned to slapstick comedy.
As Caruso turned to meet the dog, the dog swerved away from him, and in the dark, he ran into a scrawny little lime tree planted in the yard. As he ran into the branches of this mostly denuded-of-foliage, little stick tree, he was apparently CONVINCED that the cat had gotten hold of him. He yelped like a baby and ran off……
I laughed and laughed…………………
And also, the neighbor –
after three consecutive days of party hearty into the wee hours (and beyond into daybreak)
was cleaning up the beer-and-BBQ debris, followed by
a tiny white kitten, whom, when questioned about this tiny fur person,
answered “He’s yours,”
despite the fact (which he already knows full well)
that I already possess four kitty people who all call me mom, AND
who displayed (knowing this would cinch the adoption) this tiny baby’s open sores
to my shocked gaze, ensuring the little fellow would be able to (instantly) claim a new mama.
His white fur has cafe-o-lait color smudge clouds, topped by an erect dark pencil tail and startling intensely blue eyes and
also, he stands in the food bowl, frantically kneading the kibble,
purring madly while scarfing bikkies as fast as he can,
because he is unsure if the food will last, like a shipwreck survivor, which
in a way,
Fluff-man is insanely jealous.
My neighbor across the lawn rescued three calico female kittens from a dumpster, and I took photos, made up a flyer and posted it at our 400+ student school, hoping to help get them adopted out. No such luck. Not a single nibble. So, I took one.
She is a cute little seven-week old, frisky and loving little lady, who attacks my hand in play fights while I am reading on the couch, and then licks the places she play bites in apology. She’s such a sweetie I named her Dulce – the Spanish word for sweet. She and I are getting along just fine. Caruso, my man-kitty buddy, a chunky, handsome tiger-striped brown boy, is fascinated with her and wants to play – but he’s a little big and she is scared of him still. So, he contents himself with lying nearby and watching her antics. Fez, my champagne and white regal lady kitty, is disdainful, but she contents herself with growling under her breath, and occasionally hissing as she strolls majestically past the little interloper.
The problem is Fluff-man. He is INSANELY jealous. Whenever he spots her, he distorts his handsome kitty face with the evilest-looking hiss (issued repeatedly), and he growls so furiously and loudly at little Dulce that it is almost howling. You can hear his mental wheels turning loud and clear – that little s*&$ is getting pets from MY MAMA, and I HATE HER GUTS. I came home from work yesterday to find Dulce mewing piteously, sitting forlornly on top of the drapery rod, just beneath the ceiling, where she had obviously climbed to escape Fluff-man’s furious swats. Fluff outweighs her 10 to 1, so this is a real issue for the little girl.
Today, I set her up with food and water bowls and a private kitty potty in the unused second bedroom, and I shut the door. Her ”I am abandoned” wails were difficult to hear, but I’d rather she be a little lonely than hurt. My unrepentant, furious Morocco boy kitty is acting like a Muslim meeting a Jew for the first time. It’s not pretty.
I am hoping that time will temper the fury and I can convince Fluff that this new little furry face does not mean I love him any less.
I have cats who share my life. I am not sure who is the owner and who is the pet in these circumstances, but I am the one scheduling doctor visits and buying the kibble and litter, not to mention scooping the box, so in MY opinion at least, I qualify as…caretaker, at least, if not actually the OWNER.
Last night, as I left my room’s door open to catch the evening breeze (the fact that one fur child was already cozily bedded down on the cushy rug was definitely, definitely NOT a factor), I was fairly certain that I would be visited inside my mosquito netting by one or more babies who, being far more nocturnal than yours truly, would visit therein in hopes of getting some mommy loving. Sure enough, Fez came by, settled on my chest and tummy, began making gentle bread on my cushy abdomen, and settled down for lazy stroking from me. She signaled her approval by occasionally licking my leg with her sandpaper-rough tongue. When she
had enough pets to satisfy her, she ambled off the bed and went to find a cooler spot to spend the night. She likes sleeping on mommy only in the chilly winter – which does not exist at sea-level Panama.
Later, Fluff-man came by, settled in a warm, furry ball beside my ear on the pillow, and began rumbling deep in his chest, vibrating my ear drums with his hypnotizing purr. He then reached over with both front feet, and made bread on my shoulder, more forcefully than Fez does, being a man-kitty-type person. Any parent will tell you that it is very nice when your children spontaneously come and love on you, and kitty parents are no exception. It’s nice, even when it is the middle of the night.
Now if only my human children would send a message…….